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May
2013
8

Missouri Bill that Will Limit the Prevailing Wage Headed to Governor’s Desk

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon


Last week, the Missouri Senate passed a House bill that aims to make changes to the way prevailing wages are calculated in the Show-Me State. The bill, HB34, passed along party lines in a 23-10 vote and now heads to the desk of Gov. Jay Nixon.

The changes “would eliminate the prevailing wage in third and fourth-class rural counties” and could lead to an influx of unchecked, out-of-state contractors working on public works projects. Republican Dan Brown of Rolla handled the bill in the Senate. He claims it would help rural Missouri towns save costs on small projects.

It looks like it would be a change that would allow some of these counties to get something moving at maybe a little bit lower wage rate in real outstate rural Missouri, where a lot of labor unions aren’t interested in going and doing small jobs,”

The original draft of the bill had to be streamlined to succeed according to OzarksFirst:

The bill started out with more than the prevailing wage in it. But Sen. Ryan McKenna (R-Crystal City) warned that all the senate’s work on the issue would be futile if it refused to eliminate some troublesome language.

The “troublesome language” tried to define “maintenance,” a word that McKenna says has given states and the federal government fits trying to define. Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Dan Brown (R-Rolla) finally came back with acceptable wording allowing a party-line favorable vote.

Audio of debate on the issue shows that the legislation is controversial even among Republicans, not because some Republicans are trying to shield the long-standing wage protections from being torn down but because they’d like to see it abolished entirely. This bill changes the method by which prevailing wages are calculated while leaving the idea of prevailing wages in tact.

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